Before I answer yesterday's question I want to talk about Digital Work flows, Analog Work flows and the loses and gains between the two.
Analogue photography has a long history of literature in terms of process. In fact it is very difficult to learn the process of b&w film processing and printing, without consulting the numerous texts out there that describe the process.
As a process it is well established, as I said, and could be described as something like this.
- Shoot, light, composition, timing, technical choices
- Process:- Film [Chemicals, Dev, Stop, Fix, wash, dry]
- Proof/Contact the film, or if you are brave go straight to the next step. Again technical considerations also come into play here, exposure time, contrast/filtration, choice of paper developer and so on
- Choose your 'shot' to Print
- Make your Print, again, technical considerations come into play here, exposure time, contrast/filtration, choice of paper developer and so on
- Refine your print, based on skill and knowledge of materials, using darkroom techniques and or post darkroom techniques such as Toning, Bleaching etc
- Present your Print, in a frame or on a wall in some way.
The entire process allowing plenty of time for immersion in the craft and process of photography and thought of craft, aesthetics and history. Of course only the truly dedicated follow this path to it's logical extension. How to make beautifully crafted photographic prints that celebrate life art and the idea of a photograph, or at least question it.
Step 1 is identical between the two processes, with some minor differences in approach between analogue emulsions and digital CCDs.
However step 2 is where things go awry with digital. There are so many choices in post exposure software out there, right down to the choice of processing in camera. Where is a beginner to turn now? For example simply hooking your camera up to your computer is likely to simply launch some piece of software that you will need to learn first before you even begin looking at your images, either creatively, critically or technically. And of course what is likely to happen in 18 months to 2 years, the software developer will change their software to the extent where learning it all over again is a distinct possibility. Somewhere, in this process people are meant to some how learn how critically evaluate the images they make and gain an insight inot what images have been made why and how.
Factor in the huge shortage of texts that deal with the digital photograph as a craft and you have a hot bed of misinformation, and a breeding ground for old wive's tales.
Somewhere in amongst all this, photography teachers the world over are expected to pass on all the right knowledge to prepare their students for life in the real world. Believe it or not I find this exciting and challenging and a great way forward, as I consider myself one of the lucky few, a foot in both camps.
I guess I'll leave the gains of digital to another article another day, though.
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